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FDP Forum / FDP Unplugged - Acoustic Instruments / So my Martin D17M could use a truss rod tweak

littleuch
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Ocala, Florida

pwn me like it's 1999
Jan 24th, 2019 08:53 PM   Edit   Profile  

After 5+ years I consider that great performance. As I look through the case for the allen wrench I'm certain is included I find there isn't one. So I try a handful of my own, only to discover that it looks like there is no truss rod installed, just a hollow hole I can shove a pencil in several inches. I figure this can't be right, so off to Google. It sounds like Martin uses a longer wrench to discourage the hapless tweaker from tweaking and twerking, I guess.

I emailed Martin, we'll see how they respond.

What has your experiences been with Martin truss rods?

Peegoo
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Just beyond Mars

there's a world of fools
Jan 24th, 2019 09:11 PM   Edit   Profile  

The truss rod adjustment access has been slightly changed over the years.

If your guitar was made after late 2007, you need a 5mm hex wrench that's 5" long.

littleuch
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Ocala, Florida

pwn me like it's 1999
Jan 24th, 2019 09:33 PM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks Mr. Geno, I figured it was something as such. Yeah, I think the D17M was short lived, mine made in 2012 or 13. Great guitar, as far as big boom box dreads go.

reverend mikey
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N of I-90, E of I-29

You're old. Then vintage. Then good!
Jan 24th, 2019 10:40 PM   Edit   Profile  

You need the 4 1/2" straight wrench on this page for your Martin - it's the one I have and use on my Martins

Item # 6114

Ragtop
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The older the violin

the sweeter the music.
Jan 25th, 2019 05:25 AM   Edit   Profile  

I bought a truss rod tool too, but not as fancy as those mikey posted. Those are nice!

Handy to have, and it fits my other guitars too.

Just make sure you put your other hand in a position to catch it if it slips so you don't bang up the soundhole.

Money well spent.

littleuch
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Ocala, Florida

pwn me like it's 1999
Jan 25th, 2019 05:31 AM   Edit   Profile  

As little as I'll use it, I wonder if this one would be good enough. Other than using the evil A to buy. :-/

Linkydoodle

(This message was last edited by littleuch at 07:32 AM, Jan 25th, 2019)

Ragtop
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The older the violin

the sweeter the music.
Jan 25th, 2019 06:47 AM   Edit   Profile  

That's exactly what I have, littleuch.

reverend mikey
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N of I-90, E of I-29

You're old. Then vintage. Then good!
Jan 26th, 2019 07:56 PM   Edit   Profile  

Yep, that'll work.

littleuch
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Ocala, Florida

pwn me like it's 1999
Jan 29th, 2019 07:02 PM   Edit   Profile  

Ordered, received, worked.

While the guitar did need a truss rod adjustment, I still seem to think the action is a wee bit higher than it once was, moving up the neck. My eyes don't see any appreciable lift/bulge or otherwise at the bridge but I assume there's been some movement.

Is removing material from the bottom of the saddle the right way to proceed? Whatever skills I have working on guitars is more limited to electrics.

Peegoo
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Just beyond Mars

there's a world of fools
Jan 29th, 2019 07:47 PM   Edit   Profile  

That is correct, Larry.

The approach is this:

Measure the action at the 12th fret. Determine how much lower you'd like it for both E strings. Let's say it's 1/32" too high on both E strings.

To drop the string height 1/32" at the 12th fret, you need to remove twice that amount (2/32") from the bottom of the bridge saddle. Here's how.

Loosen all the strings until they're floppy, and place a capo on the 1st fret. This allows you to leave the strings on the tuners, but easily remove the bridge pins and pull the strings out of the bridge.

Use a magnifying visor and bright light because working with these dimensions is almost brain surgery.

Remove the saddle and use a steel rule to mark a line 2/32" (1/16") from the bottom of each end of the saddle. Use the point of an X-Acto blade to make your tic marks. A pencil or fine sharpie is not precise enough.

Next, lightly rub the tip of a pencil over each little tic mark. The graphite fills the score line and makes it easy to see.

Connect both tic marks by drawing a line along the steel rule with the knife point. follow with the pencil so you can see the line.

Place some 220-grit sand paper on a very flat surface (glass is best, granite/Corian or Formica counter top is next best).

Hold the saddle in the center by pinching it between thumb and finger, and moderately press the saddle's bottom against the sandpaper as you run it back and forth, longitudinally, over the sandpaper.

Check your work frequently, make sure you're removing the material evenly and the bottom of the saddle is remaining flat as you work. Ideally you'll remove saddle material until you're *almost* to the line. This is the point you stick the saddle back into the bridge, reinstall the string balls and pins, and tune up.

Give the guitar a five minute play, check and adjust tuning, and then let the guitar have a 20-minute rest to resume its under-tension geometry.

Check the tuning, and check the action at the 12th fret to see if you got it dialed in.

The reason you don't go all the way to the line on the first shot is to account for any slight errors in measuring and marking. It's better to remove too little material than too much.

It's like the frustrated carpenter said: "I've sawed the end of this board twice, and it's still too short!"

A good steel rule is inexpensive.

stratcowboy
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USA/Taos, NM

Jan 29th, 2019 09:26 PM   Edit   Profile  

Another way...

I routinely tune skis during the winter...being that we ski every day. So I have some very refined files at my disposal. Files that are milled to very high, flat tolerances for racing skis, etc. I've taken the bone saddle out of the bridge of my high-end Guild and done the measuring thing as Peego suggests. Then, rather than the 220-grit and glass routine suggested, I run the saddle smoothly over a very fine-toothed file (a new one!) until I get where I need to go. Makes for really sweet and very clean results on the bottom of the saddle.

YMMV...

littleuch
Contributing Member
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Ocala, Florida

pwn me like it's 1999
Jan 30th, 2019 08:36 AM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks gents, truly valued info here.

I have sanded saddles before on other acoustics, but without knowing where I was starting and where I was going.

MJB
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Who's we sucka?

Smith, Wesson and me.
Jan 30th, 2019 03:35 PM   Edit   Profile  

As you can see, earlier models did not need to be nearly as long.

I'm pretty sure I bought this from the Martin store about 18 years ago.

Bondhus

FDP Forum / FDP Unplugged - Acoustic Instruments / So my Martin D17M could use a truss rod tweak




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